14 October 2012

Bread and the Divine Mr Hollywood ....... Yummy!

In light of the fact that this coming Tuesday is the final of my favourite program on TV at the moment ..... The Great British Bake Off, I have been watching my recent recordings of the series. Sad, I know, but I like to have something on in the background when I'm blogging or sewing, and I was watching the bread episode and it reminded me that I had used up the last of my bread the previous evening and that I needed to drag myself to the shops and get some more. I like being a bit of a lazy person on a Sunday and the prospect of fighting my way around my local supermarket was not something I fancied at all, especially when I had more of the lovely Bake Off series that I could be watching instead. So, I decided that it was time to bite the bullet and make some bread! Having performed the obligatory Google search for bread recipes I found a brilliant link to the BBC Food page with a 4 minute video, featuring Paul Hollywood, on how to make the perfect cob loaf. What could be better :-)
Pictures Courtesy of http://beta.anobii.com/author/Paul+Hollywood/234690
Now I have made bread before but usually in a bread maker and even then, I have had mixed results, in fact one loaf of bread turned out as flat as a pancake. The video, however, made it look so easy that I couldn't wait to give it a go. After mixing all the ingredients, I followed Paul's tip on kneading the dough. Apparently the trick is not to use a floured surface because this can affect the structure of the finished loaf, but to use a surface that has had a drizzle of olive oil smeared on it. I was utterly amazed ..... it works. After five minutes therapeutic pounding of the dough, I shaped it and plopped it back into my mixing bowl and left it to prove ...... et voila ........ after an hour of proving, my bread was looking .... well ...... like bread, or at least how it was supposed to look after that amount of time. I was chuffed to bits. 

Proving in the bowl
After gently "knocking back" the dough ball to get rid of the air (see .... I even know all the bread making terminology now), I placed it onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper and left it to prove for another hour or so. Once it had finished proving for the second time, I criss-crossed the top with cuts after lightly dusting with flour and put it in the oven.
Another Paul Hollywood Top Tip - place a baking pan in the bottom of the over while you pre-heat it and just before you shut the door, pour a cupful of cold water into the pan. This causes steam which helps the loaf develop a lovely crust.

Proving on the baking tray for the second time
30 minutes later and the loaf was done. The whole kitchen was filled with that scrummy fresh bread smell, the dogs were drooling and even the cats were sniffing the air. I've worked it out, it cost me about 35p to make the loaf which is about £1.15 less than the bread I usually buy and there are no chemicals, no preservatives and a lots and lots of satisfaction.

The finished loaf of bread ........ YUMMY!!!!

I would also like to say congratulations to Mary Berry on her recent CBE. 
Picture Courtesy of www.telegraph.co.uk

I think in her case CBE should stand for Cake Baking Expert :-)

The recipe for the bread is on my recipe page in case you can't be bothered 
click on BBC the link.

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